One Vegas doctor gets his license back, agrees to testify against others

By: July 8th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Last week brought some interesting developments to last year’s story about unsafe injections in Las Vegas that may be a little surprising to some.

Dr. Eladio Carrera, one of the doctors and a minority partner at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada allegedly involved in the hepatitis C outbreak last February, will be served a $15,000 fine and two years of probation. Carrara will also get his medical license back immediately, according to a ruling by the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners.

However, he does so on one condition, according to the Las Vegas Sun: Carrera must provide testimony against two other physicians at the clinic, majority owner Dr. Dipak Desai and Dr. Clifford Carrol. According to the settlement, waiver, and consent agreement/order drawn up by the Board, “the Investigative Committee is satisfied that Dr. Carrera could provide testimony that may be valuable and important in formal disciplinary proceedings related to the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada.”

“Our investigation shows he has a substantially different responsibility for the infections than the other two physicians involved,” Louis Ling, executive director of the medical board told the Sun. “He is willing to testify truthfully against the other two doctors and give us a context for the case that nobody else can give us.”

On the other hand, some progress in infection control legislation has come out of the infamous incident. Two state Assembly bills passed as a result of public outcry over the alleged unsafe injection practices and went into effect on July 1. One of the new laws (a “whistleblower” law) adds protection for doctors and nurses who bring unsafe procedures to the attention of authorities, according to the Sun.

The second law allows state health inspectors to issue a cease and desist order to facilities where there is a concern about a spread of infection, and requires surgery centers to better report sentinel events.

In perhaps an even more disturbing unsafe injection practices  story that broke Friday on CNN, a former surgical technician at Rose Medical Center in Denver, Kristen Diane Parker, admitted to secretly injecting herself with patients’ fentanyl injections and replacing the used syringes with saline solution. Parker had hepatitis C and could have potentially infected 4,700 patients that had surgery at Rose during her employment between October 2008 and April 2009, although hospital officials do not believe that many patients were exposed. Nine patients have already tested positive and investigators are still determining if they contracted the disease from Parker, according to the article.

These situations are just another example of the gravity of unsafe injection procedures which have plagued ambulatory surgery centers and outpatient clinics over the last few years. Previously we’ve written about unsafe injections, offered some tips for proper injection procedures, and there are a number of free downloadable tools that offer guidance on this topic.

Does your state enforce a whistleblower law? Have you ever been in a position where you had to point out safety or infection control misconduct? Let us know below.

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The Infection Prevention Core Training Bundle is a comprehensive three-part Webcast series that focuses specifically on IC best practices. With expert advice from OSHA Healthcare Advisor bloggers and IC experts Peg Luebbert and Libby Chinnes, this bundle is your complete solution for staff education on infection prevention, and a solid training foundation for your IC program.

 

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